OTPIC Officially Retired

As of December 2, 2005, the Online Training Program on Intractable Conflict (OTPIC) has been officially retired, and is no longer open to new registrations.

The successor to OTPIC is a course called Dealing Constructively with Intractable Conflicts (DCIC). The new curriculum is built around one of our major projects, Beyond Intractability, and offers a much more extensive and informative set of learning materials than that available through OTPIC.

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International Online Training Program On Intractable Conflict

Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, USA

General Information on Fact-Finding

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Fact finding is an extremely important component of the communication process which presents its own special set of problems and opportunities to people working to increase the constructiveness of intractable conflicts. Facts are pieces of information about the world that can be independently verified by generally accepted research methods as reliable and a sound bases for decision making and dispute resolution. Facts may involve technical questions such as:  the number of people living in a particular area, number of acres of land under irrigation, the cost of constructing and supplying a refugee camp, risks associated with a chemical plant, or the amount of money that a company can afford to pay its employees and still remain competitive. There are also factual questions involving the law, such as: What exactly are the procedures for removing an elected official from office? Who owns a particular piece of land? What are the legal rights that citizens have when accused of a crime?

In some cases factual questions can be answered with absolute certainty. In other cases, however, there are large elements of  uncertainty. While some of these uncertainties can be reduced through higher quality fact-finding efforts, there are often other uncertainties which cannot be eliminated by any reasonable amount of analysis. In these cases, decisions will have to be made and disputes will have to be resolved on the basis of incomplete information.

This means that the parties will not know for sure what will happen if they make a particular decision. For example, estimates of the amount of irrigatable farmland depends upon rainfall levels and the amount of water in the reservoirs. If weather conditions are abnormally dry, the amount of farmland will be reduced. If conditions are abnormally wet, the amount of farmland will increase. Or, land-ownership patterns could vary depending upon the way in which the courts determine the law. The goal of fact-finding efforts is to incorporate as much reliable information as possible into the dispute resolution process. Outlined in this section are problems which make it difficult to achieve this objective.

Link to a List of Common Fact-Finding Problems

Link to a List of Fact-Finding Treatments

Copyright 1998 Conflict Research Consortium  -- Contact: crc@colorado.edu